Bringing Clients Full Circle

Passion and a team approach are what differentiate their business when compared to solo advisors, explains Warren “Doc” Darilek, Senior Vice President of The Darilek Investment Group in Austin, Texas. “I’m very passionate about the business that we’ve grown over the years,” he said. “I think – besides honesty, ethics and hard work – you throw passion into the formula, and that’s the driver of creativity. We take pride in serving as trusted advocates for our clients. Looking out for what’s best for our clients seems to unify our goals and leads to success.”

According to Darilek, when he started The Darilek Investment Group team of advisors at brokerage firm HilltopSecurities they broadened the scope of what they were trying to do, and focused on giving a more complete circle of services, without leaving any piece of the pie unaddressed.

“The advantages of the team effort are many. First of all, clients feel more comfortable when there’s not just one person behind the wheel, but a whole team. It helps to show them that we have a team member who focuses on bonds, on stocks, and the full financial plan,” he said. “Plus, there are more people here who can be accessible to our clients. We never let an email or a phone call go unattended for longer than a few hours, while many of our clients have said that it often takes other businesses a day or two to get back to them. Our clients have come to value and appreciate this level of ongoing communication from our team.”

Darilek has experience on both sides of the coin, having been an advisor for 33 years and an investor all his life. “I’ve been fascinated with researching individual stocks, literally since I was a teenager. My grandfather got me interested at a very young age by giving me S&P 500 Guides to read in my spare time.  The funny thing is that I actually did read them. I have a lot of experience researching stocks and it has worked well for me,” he explained. Now, he notes, his team focuses on providing a full-circle value to clients. “We don’t focus on just one or two sectors to sell products, but to truly service the full financial plan.”

This philosophy appeals to their clients and continues to be a winning formula for the group. “We spend a lot of time early on specifically getting to know what our clients’ objectives are,” he said. “And in turn we show them that we are here for the duration – for the long-term relationships. We are honest, ethical; we work hard and we show that we care.”

Because Darilek is proud of basing his team’s success on ethical behavior, a potential fiduciary standard across the industry is not something that makes him apprehensive. “I think what this really comes down to is as an advisor, are you ethical and honest and are you truly looking out for the best interests of your clients or not? We think it’s coming, so we are prepared for it and we don’t feel like it’s going to be disruptive to our business,” he said.

Regardless of whether the industry adopts a fiduciary standard, or whether technology continues to “gamify” the financial planning experience, Darilek believes that a personal relationship with an advisor or a firm will always be needed.

“I still think it’s going to come down to a need for face-to-face meetings and relationships where you can stress to clients that they’re not going to do it alone,” he added. “You’ll be with them during the process. They can get educated on their own to become more comfortable, but the one-on-one relationship is still going to be needed for servicing and help as you go.” 

Building that authentic client/advisor relationship early on for Darilek means getting to know the client and all the details of each client’s situation, both financially and personally, to implement financial planning. His office uses sophisticated planning software that helps define a client’s objectives. “Financial planning with sophisticated technology and software allows us to narrow down the client’s objectives and goals,” he said. “So if someone comes to us at 40, approaching 50 years old, 60 and 70 years old, we can show them the track that we’ve started and the track we’re still on as we continue toward their objectives.”

As people live longer, taking this approach to financial planning earlier can minimize the effects of sequential retirements and long-term care. “It falls back on looking at the entire pie early on in the process so that our clients can have more confidence going into retirement,” Darilek said. “We take a risk-based approach and diversify our clients’ portfolios to position them well for the long run. Taking the time to look at the entirety of the pie makes all the difference.”

Darilek says one of the biggest successes for the team is to look back on the 30-year relationships that they started with, which have only gotten stronger over the years because of the value the group provides. And that value extends to helping clients understand the markets from the emotional side. “With the amount of technology and information inundating us day to day, we try to help them keep perspective of what it all means, along with the emotional effects of all the financial media coverage.”

Darilek feels they particularly earn their clients’ trust during bad times – and even then he’s confident in how they’ve weathered the storms. “The true measure of an advisor is how you handle the rough times and the three to five years after that,” Darilek emphasized.

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